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Kiran

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Posts posted by Kiran


  1. Marshflight

     

    Marshflight felt deep annoyance when Cranewing came to take the apprentices away. Hadn't Cranewing told him to keep them busy and let them help? They had been helping. Training the apprentices was good, of course, but moving them around like this was only going to cause confusion in everyone. That wasn't really something that they could afford right now. Aside from the arguing, which Marshflight was sure would stop soon, things had been fine before the huge deputy entered the den and took up so much space. Trying to avoid being pushed back and stepping on the herbs, Marshflight stepped backwards and stood on one of the nests.

    "Thistlepaw, please don't insult Sagepaw. We don't need that now, okay? I thought you knew that." His tone was soft yet disappointed. Apprentices could be so short-sighted sometimes (not that adult cats were always better). He certainly had been. They could usually learn, though, with just a bit of gentle correction. It really depended on the cat's personality, and it often worked with Thistlepaw.

     

    "Let's all get out of this den for a minute, okay? Sagepaw, you can stay if you want to, but I think that we all need some fresh air." He left the den and breathed deeply, then twisted around and noticed Sagepaw's expression. "Are you okay?" he asked. He had hoped that Thistlepaw hadn't hurt Sagepaw that much, but she seemed to be a bit shocked.


  2. Uh, just so that I don't make a horrible mistake, medicine cats in the series do dry herbs for leaf-bare, don't they? I'm sorry, I haven't read any of the books for a long time.

     

    Also, Marshflight's just assuming a bit about Cranewing and Mistystar and then worrying smile.gif


  3. Marshflight

     

    What!? Something was wrong with Cranewing's heart? But only elders ever had heart problems! Foxglove seeds could be used to treat them, but, well... it was dangerous. Very dangerous. Marshflight didn't trust himself with them, and he didn't even keep them in his den. The small, black seeds could be confused with poppy seeds, and a mistake like that would likely be fatal. Besides, they weren't likely to be needed. The only elder they had was Ivyclaw, and he was too young to have heart problems. He supposed that Icefall was at risk, with her age and active lifestyle, but Marshflight didn't expect her to tell him if she felt heart pain.

     

    ...oh. Cranewing meant his metaphorical heart. What had Mistystar said to him that had made him act that way? Marshflight didn't have any experience with love. It was a bit of a terrifying concept; the idea of caring for a cat, loving them, and never being and to be with them because StarClan said so? Not that Marshflight would ever go against StarClan. His work for Cloudclan was worth far more than that. "Okay..." Marshflight said, unsure if Cranewing was really as okay as he said. If he wasn't feeling pain then there wasn't anything that Marshflight could do for him, even if he was worried about the deputy having had a head injury. He seemed fine, though, so Marshflight headed to his den to see if the apprentices were there.

     

    Hearing Sagepaw shouting, he ran a bit faster. When he got there, however, everything seemed to be fine. Sagepaw was there, as well as Thistlepaw and Willowpaw. Thistlepaw was helpful, even if he couldn't remember what each herb did (though Marshflight suspected that he was better than he thought he was). Marshflight was a bit more worried about Willowpaw, as he hadn't ever seen her sort herbs before. She was probably doing fine, but he carefully looked over her work anyway. "Is everything alright, Sagepaw? I heard shouting." Noticing a piece that Willowpaw had put in the 'bad' pile that was still usable, Marshflight gently moved it back. "That one is still good. It's a bit wilted, but not so much that we can't use it. I'd get you to help set herbs out in the sun to dry them, but we can't really do that now." If the sun didn't return soon, they wouldn't be able to properly dry herbs for leaf-bare, which could be disastrous.

    Icefall

     

    Well, fine. Icefall had expected them to need another rabbit, but looking at the sizes of hers and Birchpelt's they wouldn't need a fourth. Barkpelt's catch wasn't completely useless, after all. There wasn't a point in worrying if they managed to catch enough prey, and Icefall had to admit that she wouldn't have felt good if either of the others caught more prey than she did.

     

    Setting her rabbit down beside Birchpelt's, Icefall waded a short ways into the water. She would have preferred to hunt from the bank, but this wasn't a great spot for that. Most of the larger fish weren't within reach from the shore where the water got gradually deeper. The icy water was cold, but it wasn't anything that she wasn't used to. They wouldn't have to spend much time in the water, with the amount of fish that were there. Actually, there were too many fish, especially once Birchpelt mentioned it. Icefall hadn't seen them act that way before. Worried that something was wrong, Icefall gazed at the fish. Were they fleeing from something? She couldn't see anything upstream that might be chasing them. Was something wrong with the water? She bent down to taste it, and noted that it tasted fine. "I'm not sure. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with them, aside from the way that they're acting. We should at least taste one before bringing them all back to camp, but what if there's something wrong with them and we can't taste it?" Well, then they wouldn't know until a cat got sick. You could usually taste if something was wrong with prey, but Icefall remembered a cat who had died after eating a poisoned rabbit. "Maybe they're trying to swim away from the clouds. Maybe it's something else. What do you think, Barkpelt?" Icefall ignored Duskflame. If he really thought of anything, then he could mention it.


  4. Icefall

     

    Tail twitching, Icefall stalked off to find another rabbit. She stalked the first one that she saw for a minute, but it turned out to be too scrawny to bother with. Not finding a good rabbit and wasting that time was irritating, but if it meant that there would be more rabbits in leaf-bare it was fine. Luckily, she soon spotted another one. It was huddled up in a clump of tall grass, hidden on three sides. Quickly figuring out how to approach it, Icefall dropped into a crouch and walked around to the left of the grass clump. That way, the rabbit wouldn't be able to see her. She wouldn't be able to see it either, of course. but that was okay. So long as it didn't move, she would be able to pounce through the grass and land on it.

     

    When she had gotten close enough to the rabbit that she was satisfied, Icefall leaped. As a Cloudclan cat, her jumps were long, and she loved the feel of the air under her paws. Even better, however, was the feeling of succeeding in a hunt when she fell through the grass and her claws caught at the rabbit. It tried to bolt, but her back paws hit the ground, giving her the stability that she needed to reach forward and bite its neck. She got a mouthful of grass as well, which she spat out when the rabbit stopped struggling. Parting the grass with a forepaw, she picked up the rabbit and headed back to where the others had been standing.

     

    When she got there, she found them right where she had left them, without any new prey. What were they doing? This was a hunting patrol, not a let's-all-catch-the-same-amount-of-prey patrol. Really, did they think that she would be angry if they caught more prey than she did? Okay, she wouldn't like it, but she was more annoyed that they hadn't caught anything else. "You didn't catch anything else?" she asked to confirm, just as Duskflame arrived. She turned her head to him curiously, wondering if he had a message to deliver, but when he didn't say anything she turned her head back towards Birchpelt and Barkpelt.

     

    ((Sorry, I didn't have time to post as Marshflight. I'll write a post for him sometime tomorrow.))


  5. Icefall

     

    Ah, yes, the journeying cats. Icefall hadn't really given them much thought. True, she would be very glad to finally be able to breath without wanting to vomit, but what did she care about the journeyers? Whoever they were or whatever hardships they faced on the way, they would all be regarded as heroes if they managed to stop the clouds. She didn't really have the energy to speculate on who they were, so she didn't bother. Sagepaw, probably. Three others. Did it matter? Marshflight and Mistystar definitely wouldn't be going, as those were the two that really needed to stay. Icefall doubted that Mistystar would send her. They all thought that she was too old, Icefall knew. They were probably whispering behind her back, spreading rumors that she was too busy to overhear. No one cared about her, or about how she went on more patrols and caught more prey than any of them. Well - maybe not anymore. But she worked harder.

     

    Oh, she certainly wanted to go. Going on the journey would make her the heor, and then how could anyone speak rudely about her? Every kit would know who she was! There would be stories told about her for generations. Not even apprentices would dare call her weak or old.

     

    If she came back, of course. If she died on the journey, well, then she'd just be that old cat that though she could do more than she really could, the one who slowed the others down. That wouldn't happen to her, though. No, she knew how far she could go, and that wouldn't be a problem, not really. She could keep going without complaining.

     

    Seeing that Birchpelt had managed to kill her rabbit, Icefall moved away from the others in search of another. She stood low to the ground, and opened her mouth to inhale deeply. The smell of rot that the clouds caused made it a bit difficult but she managed to catch the scent of a rabbit upwind. Good. Narrowing her eyes, she crept forward. The rabbit-scent was fresh and fairly close, but she hadn't spotted it yet. At this time, her coat color was a hindrance. The white didn't blend in with the grass or flowers, and the colored patches didn't help. It was better in leaf-bare, when the patches could be mistaken for dead grass and the white fit in with the snow.

     

    Finally spotting the rabbit, Icefall crouched lower. It was still a distance away, but in the open field she was careful not to be seen herself. She stuck behind clumps of tall grass and rocks, using the cover to make it easier to hide. All of her focus was on her prey, but a few steps before she could properly pounce she felt the wind shift. In a last ditch effort to catch the rabbit she lunged, but its tail slipped away a mouse-length from her claws. There wasn't a point in chasing after it. It had the head start, and its burrow was probably somewhere nearby. Hissing in frustration, Icefall starting searching the meadow for other rabbits. She hated missing a kill, but it happened sometimes.

    Marshflight

     

    Marshflight blinked. Him, make sure nothing terribly happened? Well, it was just a normal day at camp. Surely nothing would happen, but the responsibility of it weighed on his shoulders. His leader and all of his clanmates were counting on him. What if he did something wrong? Mistystar was probably right about not worrying, but... somethings were just worrying. Like the clouds. He had noticed more infections since they had come, either from the darkness making cats injure themselves more or the dampness they brought making infection more likely. "O-okay..." Marshflight said, but Mistystar had already left. She obviously wasn't worried about anything terrible happening.

     

    "Hi, Sagepaw," Marshflight said, noticing that his apprentice had come over to ask a question. He felt relieved that she was there to help, although he would have liked for her to spend a bit more time with the other apprentices. He couldn't have everything, he supposed. "Um, yes. We're completely out of borage, and if you see some chervil it would be helpful, too. I'm sorry, I'd come with you to help, but I'm supposed to watch the camp."

     

    Marshflight looked to the center of camp, and noticed that Cranewing was back. Already? He was curled up in the center of camp, his fur damp and mud-stained. Was he hurt? Concerned, Marshflight ran over to him. "Cranewing? Are you hurt?" Worry filled his voice. It wasn't like the deputy to just stop working and lie at the center of the camp. He couldn't see any external injuries or blood, but it could be something else, like a head wound. He didn't know how he could treat that. If it was just a headache feverfew could help, but...

     


  6. Icefall

    "Songbreeze?" Icefall asked, flicking an ear back in annoyance. The cat hadn't been a warrior very long, and seemed to talk far too much. Icefall didn't really know her, having avoided some of the more irritating young warriors. Maybe she was better while hunting, but Icefall didn't really care to find out. With the prey running off already they didn't need someone to chase them off by gossiping about kits. Though, Birchpelt was right about one thing. Songbreeze still did have a lot to learn, and hunting with the older warriors was a good way to do that. Though Icefall didn't usually like younger cats, she did like having a hard working apprentice. Her last one had been, what, three seasons ago? Four? It was a pity that she didn't have one now, but she'd rather have no apprentice than have a stupid one. "I suppose, if we can find her..."

     

    Icefall was saved from having to search for Songbreeze by the arrival of Barkpelt. "Hello, Barkpelt. It looks like we won't have to find Songbreeze after all." There was the slightest hint of happiness (or smugness; it was hard to tell) in her voice. "Shall we go fishing? We might as well catch fish before leaf-bare and save the mice." Over the years, Icepelt had become an expert at fishing. Though her reflexes had dulled slightly, she could still tell where the fish were despite the refraction.

     

    Without waiting for the others, Icefall walked out of the camp towards the river.

     

     


  7. @Delta: Part of the huge brown organic thing towering into the sky moved. The slime had never seen such a thing move, especially not a small part of its own skin when the rest of it didn't. Strange! Continuing to stare, the slime saw it wasn't the plant at all, but something the same color that happened to be on it. Not far away, a dark thing on the ground with an even stranger shape moved; but whatever it was, it was behind the plant.

    ((Sorry, did you accidentally do Zeditha twice instead of Delta?))


  8. Marshflight

     

    Marshflight's tail and paws twitched. Deep in a nightmare, he didn't notice the sounds of warriors waking up and going on their morning patrols. Perhaps that was good; he had, after all, been working late into the night to help one of the queens. She and her kits were fine now, thank StarClan.

     

    He awoke with a start, eyes snapping open. Dread filled him when he noticed the dull sunlight, filtered through the clouds, that had managed to make its way into his den. Trying to get out of his den quickly, he stumbled over his feet and nearly fell back to the ground. It would have looked quite comical, if Marshflight wasn't so worried. What if someone got sick, and they were missing some herbs? He knew that they were dangerously low on borage, at least. Well, borage wasn't usually needed immediately, but they were low and that was what mattered. Did they have enough feverfew? If they didn't have borage and they didn't have feverfew, then what would they do? Someone could get a fever!

     

    Realizing that he couldn't exactly check on his stores when he wasn't in his den, Marshflight rushed back. He checked over the neat piles of herbs: chervil (could use more), horsetail (they seemed to have enough of that, at least), catmint (a rather large pile, but leaf-bare would come quickly)... As he passed the borage pile, he saw that it was completely empty. The feverfew pile, on the other hand, was large enough that if they dried some it would last quite awhile. Marshflight forced his fur to lie flat, and twisted himself to lick some of the fur on his back. Since when had he been so forgetful?

     

    He stepped out of his den, looking for Sagepaw. He soon saw her, talking to Thistlepaw. Thistlepaw was talking to her, at least. Marshflight didn't want to interrupt their conversation - it would be good for Sagepaw to talk to other cats - so he sat down just outside of his den.

    Icefall

     

    Icefall yawned. She felt tired, exhausted, as she usually did in the morning. Staying out to hunt or patrol a bit longer than most cats tended to do that, she supposed. Her eyelids flickered as she fought to wake up properly. Had she always been this tired in the morning? She didn't think that she had. It seemed like every season she had to sleep a little longer and was more tired in the morning. It didn't matter, yet. She had to protect her Clan, and she couldn't do that by sleeping in.

     

    Still tired, she was awoken by someone poking her. She wasn't poked very hard, but she woke up quickly and scrambled to her feet. Had she slept too long?

     

    It was just Birchpelt asking about a hunting patrol, good. Birchpelt wasn't a bad cat, and had been the first apprentice that Icefall had mentored. Birchpelt was the closest that Icefall had to a friend, really. They had survived for a long time together, and had fought in many battles.

    "Yes, of course I'll come," said Icefall in a raspy voice. She needed to get out of camp to start the day, and she might as well go with Birchpelt. A lone cat simply wasn't as organized as a group patrol, and Icefall didn't particularly want to go with anyone else. To be polite, she asked, "Did you want to take anyone else?" It was okay if Birchpelt did want to bring another cat or two, so long as it wasn't some noisy apprentice that would scare all of the prey away. Many of the older warriors had died, but some of the younger ones weren't completely incompetent.


  9. Would it be okay if I reserved the final journeying cats slot? I'm working on a form right now, and I don't want it to be ninja'd away from me. The new form should be done tonight, and I'll try to work on Marshflight's post after than.


  10. Bleh, school. Maybe it'll be better in later grades, but right now I'm going into Grade 9 and all of my experience with school has been terrible. I like school when we get to do interesting things, or even just some new things, but that never seems to happen. My school is really tiny (it's a K-12 school with about three hundred students), and everything seems to happen very slowly. Math class is basically just waiting for half an hour while the teacher explains something that should have taken ten minutes (or even just repeating what he said last class), twenty minutes of punching numbers into a calculator, and then waiting for the bell to ring. Science is even worse (at least we only have it for half the year); does it really take a class to say that light moves faster in air than in water, without even saying why?

     

    Some of the school rules are really confusing as well. We're not allowed to use iPods, phones, handheld game systems, etc. Okay, fine, they don't want us to be distracted in class. There's not really any learning going on anyway, but it makes sense. So... why aren't we allowed to use them when we've completely finished our work? If I could either stare at the clock and be terribly bored or play Pokemon 'til class was over, my Math teacher last year would still take my game away. Books are allowed for some reason, though. I don't understand how re-reading Harry Potter is any better than, you know, reading science or math articles online and actually learning something, or even reading a Harry Potter e-book.

     

    Sorry about the rant. I probably shouldn't be complaining about school when it hasn't even started yet. Who knows, maybe this year will be better? ...That sounds a bit unlikely, but if it makes me feel better in the meantime I guess I'll go with it.


  11. The slime recoiled away from the mound of stuff that had contained the sharp thing. The thing had slashed open wounds in the inside of the slime's throat, and that wasn't the worst bit. Not only had the sharp thing cut deep into the sensitive flesh of the slime's throat, but the wounds were leaking some kind of hot, sticky liquid. It was like what had happened before, but there was more liquid this time. The liquid was also filling the slime's throat, choking it and trying to flow down the slime's airway. Panicked, the slime tried to swallow or cough up as much of the liquid as it could, but the liquid just seemed to keep coming. It stopped soon enough, but the remaining liquid took awhile to clear from the slime's throat.

     

    When the itchiness of the liquid had finally been washed away, the slime noticed a strange taste. It was... hm. It wasn't from the liquid - that had tasted of large creatures. It was seemed odd that something that came from the slime itself would taste like other things, but that wasn't what the slime was focusing on now.

     

    There was a strange, itchy feeling on the roof of the slime's mouth, like something was growing. The slime started to ignore it, deeming it useless like most other new growing things. It didn't feel much different, so it probably wouldn't make much of a difference. The slime liked that kind of simplicity.

     

    Besides, there were much more important issues than the strange taste and the useless new thing. The slime was still starving, and having to heal the throat wounds hadn't helped. Wary, the slime stepped back towards the mountain. It was worried about grabbing another sharp thing, but it didn't have much of a choice. Before reaching out and grabbing something, it absentmindedly flicked its wet-getting thing out and pressed it against the new thing at the roof of its mouth.

     

    A new sense! Strange, yet very familiar. It was very similar to taste, and yet it wasn't, not quite. More faded, maybe, yet vibrant all the same. It seemed to to be long ranged, like the slime's first new sense. Maybe it was a long-ranged form of taste? Oh, and the things that the new sense was revealing! There was so many different things around. Metallic things, rotten things, sweet things, anything. It was hard to tell where anything was, though. It was all muddled at strange, not clear like any of the other senses. It was most comparable to the first new sense, but even that one was clearer than this.

     

    The slime flicked its wet-getter out again, and then reached for what seemed to be some kind of food. It was soggy and mushy, and a bit rotten. It didn't have any sharp things in it that the slime could tell, so it would have to do.

     

    ((Appearance update: Delta has a mostly complete lizard skeleton, plus claws. Along its spine is a row of rose thorns, and grown on its tail is a fin. It has a layer of muscles now, which are visible but not exposed because Delta is sort of using a layer of slime as a temporary skin. So, pretty skinny and stretched out, instead of being blob-shaped.))


  12. Taylor listened (was it really listening?) and watched everything in a daze. The alien requested that someone run into his ship and retrieve a blue box. With the urgency in his voice, Taylor took a small step forward. It was the most that she had managed since the incident had started, but her fear and worry kept her from continuing. Why? What would the alien need a blue box for? Something was probably inside it, but...

     

    She didn't need to enter the ship, anyway. After a reminder from the alien, Lauren ran forward and into the ship. "Don't," Taylor tried to say, but it came out as barely a whisper. It sounded feeble, and even she could barely hear it. She didn't even know if she meant it. Maybe everything seemed like it was dangerous, and it was, but the alien seemed sincere about not wanting to hurt them. He didn't even have a reason to want to hurt them, and Taylor felt like he was telling the truth about the Yeerks.

     

    Lauren would be fine, Taylor was almost sure.

     

    When Lauren did some out of the ship (safe and unharmed, of course) and handed the cube to the alien, it began to glow. That surprised Taylor. It almost seemed mundane, the simple glowing, but she had expected the box to contain something. What was the use of a glowing cube? It obviously wasn't just a fancy glow stick. She had never seen anything like it before, and hadn't a clue what it would do. The cube wouldn't have looked out of place in a Doctor Who storyline.

     

    The alien explained. Supposedly, the cube would give them the power to 'morph'- to turn into any animal. That seemed absurd. How would such a thing even work without killing them? How could the alien know if the cube would work on humans? Where would the extra mass come from, or go if they morphed in a smaller creature? How could a simple glowing cube give someone superpowers? It barely even felt worth considering, and that was before the alien mentioned dangers with it.

     

    And the others were agreeing.

     

    "I- I- no." There was a shaky sort of laugh in her voice, making her sound hysterical. Perhaps she was. "This doesn't make any sense. You- you can't just say that there are dangers without explaining."

     

    None of this was fair. She had never expected the universe to be fair, but this was ridiculous. Maybe the others would just throw away their lives and accept something like this without protest, but she didn't want to. Everything about the alien's tone suggested urgency, something that she really didn't like. This didn't give her any time to properly decide, to weigh the pros and cons. She just couldn't accept the alien's offer.

     

    Yet... how could she not?

     

    The Yeerks were coming to take over the world. That, at least, had been clear, and the red streaks in the sky reinforced that. She doubted that she would be able to forgive herself if she could have helped, but didn't. In a way, wouldn't that make it her fault? It's not fair, she repeated to herself.

     

    When was it ever?

     

    "Promise me that it won't hurt me directly," she pleaded.

     

    <I promise.> He looked directly at her. <It is okay to stay safe and reject this, but make your decision now.>

     

    Taylor squeezed her eyes shut, then opened them and walked forward until she was close enough to place her hand on the cube. This might have been something that she would regret later, but if she couldn't help she could just back out, right? Receiving this 'morphing' power wouldn't hurt her, so she could just never use it.


  13. ((How big is my slime? I'd like it to be about a foot long from nose to tail tip, and not larger, if that's alright.))

     

    The new, good stuff was strange. The slime had difficulty telling if it was an organic or not- it was hard and sticky, but it sort of tasted like it was organic (or maybe not?). The flavor was mostly sweet, but there was something off about it. It wasn't like small skittering things, or crumbling dry things, or large things, or anything else that the slime had tasted before. The slime was very interested in the new thing, even if it wasn't quite organic. It still wasn't sure about that, either. The round thing was a mystery, and even if the slime didn't understand such things it was still curious. It reached down and poked through the flimsy stuff to better reach the thing, then swallowed it.

     

    The slime eagerly poked around for more of the things, but couldn't find any. That was disappointing. The round thing had been small, and the slime wanted more to try to figure out what the odd taste had been. Instead, the slime bit off and swallowed pieces of the flimsy, soggy stuff that it had found the round thing in. There was some sticky residue from the round thing stuck to the flimsy stuff, but the stuff itself didn't taste very good. It was a bit waxy.

     

    All around the slime's internal hard things, the slime started to feel something growing. They started thin and stringy, but as enough of them grew they became thick masses. The things replaced slime where they grew, and most of them were on the slime's limbs. However, the slime could still feel a thin layer of slime over the new things that still allowed it to taste.

     

    The new things didn't seem to be bad, but after they grew the slime felt starving. It had been quite exhausting to grow them, and they were fairly large. The slime lunged towards the mountain that it had fallen down, looking for the first thing that it could find and eat. The slime hadn't expected to be flung so far, however. With the new things, the slime's limbs had extra power, so what should have been a gentle leap sent the slime crashing into the mountain. The impact hurt a bit, but the slime was more hungry than hurt. It reached out with its mouth to grab something, and found something sharp instead of food. It was thin and jagged, as well as hard and smooth. It definitely wasn't organic, but the slime was so hungry that it didn't really care. It tried to swallow the thing anyway, but that didn't go very well. The thing cut the slime on the way down, and left the slime in pain.

     

    ((The slime grew muscles.))


  14. Even when most of the buzzing things had been eaten or had left, one or two of the them remained and attacked the slime again. Though the initial feeling of being stabbed seem to leave quickly- the wounds that the horrible buzzing things had inflicted must have closed- the slime soon realized that that wasn't the end of it. Spreading from the points where it had been stabbed came hot waves of pain that nearly caused the slime to curl up into a ball. Instead, it decided to flee. Perhaps 'decided' wasn't the best word, for the slime didn't really make much of a decision. It acted on instinct, trying to put as much distance between the remaining buzzing things and itself. After everything, the spreading pain was just too much. Unfortunately for the slime, things didn't go quite as well as it assumed that they would. It attempted to crawl over a mountain of stuff, but the mountain shifted under the slime's weight. Instead of scrambling to the top of the pile, the slime slipped. One of its feet slid out from under it, and the slime tumbled down the mountain. It tried to use its claws to stop its fall, but to no avail.

     

    As it fell back down to the bottom of the mountain sharp bits of hard things dug into the slime. They scraped the side of the slime, leaving shallow grooves. It felt as if liquid was seeping from the grooves, and the slime didn't like that for some reason. It didn't know why, but the liquid falling away was a bad thing. The slime didn't question it, and the flow soon stopped.

     

    The slime didn't seem to have fallen right back to where it had been chased away by the buzzing things. It was glad about that, but it was more focused on all of the pain. The spreading pain seemed to be almost gone, but the scraping pain was still there. It was fading as well, though, so the slime tried to ignore it. The pain had already been dealt, so there was nothing to run from. Besides, running hadn't worked out before. Few things seemed to work out well, and running wasn't one of the those things that had.

     


  15. Taylor walked slowly along with Andrew and Simon. While she wanted to get home quickly, she didn't want to leave them behind. Hadn't they agreed to stick together? Lauren and Roderick obviously hadn't remembered. They, of course, decided to climb over the fence instead of being sensible and just walking through the gate. Show-offs.

     

    She reached the gate and walked through. Poor Roderick and Lauren- they looked bored. It was their own fault for running ahead when they shouldn't have. Taylor was distracted from her thoughts when Lauren shouted. What was it now? Though, she couldn't really feel annoyed. Lauren did sound like she was shocked, like there was something worth looking at.

     

    Taylor looked up.

     

    It was a bright streak of blue. She paused, wondering what it could be. It was unlike anything that she had seen before. It wasn't like a meteorite, or a plane, or a balloon. No, none of those at all. At first it most resembled a meteorite, but meteorites weren't blue and faded. Instead, the blue thing seemed to be slowing down and getting... closer?

     

    As it got nearer, Taylor squinted against light and dust that was being kicked up by the object. Before she could figure out was it was, besides that it was about the size of a school bus, the dust flying around became too much and she had to turn her face towards ground. When the dust settled, she rubbed her eyes and stared at... whatever it was.

     

    Her first thought was that it looked somewhat like some sort of spaceship from a children's cartoon, but that wasn't right at all. For one thing, there was a deadly-looking, hooked thing sticking out of the back end of the object. A children's cartoon wouldn't have something that looked so much like a weapon. It also couldn't be a spaceship because alien spaceships couldn't exist. At least, they didn't land in the middle of abandoned construction sites without contacting people first. Taylor wasn't the sort to believe in government conspiracies, so she didn't think that the government would know about aliens and not tell everyone.

     

    What could it be, then? Taylor tried to think of something, but her mind was horribly blank. She could only think of the silliest ideas. A prank. An X-Files-like government test.

     

    Any other ideas that she might have had were stopped by the sight of Simon walking towards the object. What was the idiot doing? It could be dangerous, they had no idea what it was... She tried to tell him to stop, but the words caught in her throat.

     

    <Hello.>

     

    It was like a calm, masculine voice, but she wasn't hearing it. Instead, it was rather like what she would have expected telepathy to 'sound' like. Sort of echo-y and reverberating, but perfectly clear and easy to understand. This, of course, shocked Taylor enough that she didn't quite pay attention to what Simon said next. It was something about asking the alien to come out of the ship and not attacking it. None... none of this was possible. Probable. Not spaceships, or aliens, or telepathy. It just didn't happen, not in her nice, normal life. Right?

     

    Things got much worse when the alien stepped out of the spaceship. She couldn't deny it any longer; the object was a spaceship. The creature - person - that stepped out of the ship was so obviously alien, yet its - his - torso was strangely human-like. His head, however, wasn't very human-like at all. It almost fell into the uncanny valley, thought maybe not quite. He lacked a mouth or proper nose, instead having three narrow slits where a nose could have been. Perhaps they were nostrils of some sort. Two of his eyes were the most normal part of his face, except for being an unnatural shade of green. His other two eyes, however, were the most abnormal. They stood high on roving, twisting stalks.

     

    Below his torso, he almost looked like some sort of blue-and-tan deer, or perhaps a light horse. The overall effect made him look quite a bit like a centaur, if such a thing existed. Unlike a centaur or deer, however, he had a long, thick tail. At its tip was a huge, scythe-like blade. It glittered in the blue light from the ship, and caught Taylor's eyes. If she needed any confirmation that the alien was dangerous, that was it.

     

    Suddenly, the alien collapsed and Simon ran forward to help him. Andrew walked towards him as well, but Taylor stayed rooted to the spot. She didn't feel like she could have moved even if she had wanted to, and she didn't want to get closer to that tail. The alien looked like he needed help, but she didn't even know if it would be possible to help an alien.

     

    The alien explained that he was going to die, and that something called the Yeerks were coming to destroy them. It was amazing that someone could be so sure of his own death, to say that so calmly. Taylor's mouth was dry and her mind was still reeling, but she found the courage to speak. "Why?" Her voice came out cracked and scared. "Why?" she tried again, now sounding more normal but no less scared. "Why would they be coming to destroy us?" These 'Yeerks' needed to have a motive. Taylor didn't think that she could take it if they were just coming to attack them for no reason.

     

    <The Yeerks are parasites. They are helpless without hosts, so they have come to Earth to enslave all humans and kill those that stand in their way. You must stop them.>


  16. The bumping things contacted the slime for very brief amounts of time before zipping away. However, they made soft, buzzing noises, so the slime knew that they weren't just disappearing into nothingness. The short moments when the bumping things touched the slime didn't give the slime much information, but it felt that they were probably organic. Maybe? This was hard. Inorganic things didn't usually move, though, so the slime was pretty sure that they were organic. The slime would have easily captured the things on its surface, but the tubes running through it made that impossible. The slime was annoyed by this, but there wasn't much it could do. How could it capture the things? It didn't know. The wriggly things forgotten, the slime tried lunging towards the sound from one of the bumping things. Unfortunately for the slime, it was too slow. The bumping thing seemed to buzz away from the slime. How did it do that? It was so fast! It tried to swipe another buzzing thing with one of its feet, but the same thing happened again. This was irritating, but the slime really wanted to catch one of the bumping things. They could be new and interesting, and the slime wasn't smart enough to give up.

     

    Before the slime could eventually catch one, however, something washed over it. It was wet, and fortunately it wasn't rancid. However, the slime noticed something horrible about this huge amount of wet. It filled the slime's air-getting tube and its hollow-things. That, apparently, was bad. It was horribly painful, and caused the slime to panic. It was worse than the time when the slime had thought that it would starve. This was much more immediate- the idea that it would never fill its hollow-things with air again. That was odd. The slime had done fine without its hollow-things before, but now they seemed to be essential. It couldn't dwell on such things now, though. It contracted its hollow-things, coughing up wet. Spluttering, the slime struggled to recover from the wet.

     

    Before it had gotten rid of all of the wet stuck in its hollow-things, it noticed something else hurting it. It was pokey, and seemed to be some kind of creature. The hurt left quickly, but being hurt at all wasn't pleasant. Frantically, the slime reached around and ate as many of the things as it could. Still more poked it, but eating something new was calming.